A crisis pregnancy centre in Vancouver has been vandalized twice in the last six months, but staff are still no closer to finding out who is targeting them, and why.
“The police inform us this was not random,” said Brian Norton, the executive director of the Christian Advocacy Society of Greater Vancouver, after the centre’s storefront on Main Street was splattered with thick, red paint and defaced with profanities early in the morning of July 30.
Community education coordinator Kelsey Short, the first to arrive to work that day, was shocked. “The red paint looked like blood,” she said.
The Vancouver Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit was called in to investigate. Then, the centre suffered more damage Oct. 1: written in red paint on a side window were the words: “Abortion is normal + ok.”
It was also done early on a Monday morning and with similar-looking red paint, which makes Short believe the same person or persons are behind the attacks. But according to the Vancouver Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit, the investigation is still ongoing. So far, little is known.
“No arrests have been made,” said Jason Robillard, the VPD’s media relations officer, Nov. 29. “A clear motive has yet to be established in this mischief.”
The potential hate crimes are the most “physically violent” attacks the centre has faced, said Short, but they are not the first. In recent years, the group has faced false allegations online, intimidating phone calls, and hostility from passersby. Earlier this year, some individuals entered the centre and asked staff to get up and leave.
The centre does not have security cameras in place, an intentional move to protect the confidentiality of its clients.
The Vancouver centre, and another in Burnaby, are both run by the Christian Advocacy Society of Greater Vancouver. Operating for 28 years, the centres have helped 18,500 women face unplanned pregnancies, cope with post-abortion grief, and handle other challenging situations. Most of their appointments with clients are for free clothing, diapers, and other supplies.